Evaporated Milk vs Condensed Milk

Evaporated milk vs condensed milk – do you know the difference? You’ve seen them sharing space on grocery store shelves, both flaunting the name ‘milk’ on their labels, but neither tasting quite right in your Cheerios.

My first experience with canned milk was not a good one. I was a kid on a Saturday morning looking forward to a bowl of Rice Krispies to eat while I watched my cartoons. (Anybody else remember School House Rock? Can somebody get on bringing that back, please?) There was no milk in the fridge and my mom popped the top on a can of evaporated milk. She mixed it with a bit of water then poured it into my bowl. One spoonful and I was scarred for life. I had no words for what I was tasting, not a Snap, Crackle or Pop.

Evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk are both technically milk, with a few modifications.

Evaporated Milk vs Condensed Milk

Both are the result of removing about 60% of the water content from whole milk — think milk concentrate. With evaporated milk, you can add an equal amount of water and use it like regular milk. You’ll likely notice a different  (translation: yucky) taste and darker color resulting from evaporated milk being heated slightly to extend shelf life and prevent bacteria growth.

Sweetened condensed milk has added sugar, giving it a darker color, sweeter flavor and thicker, syrupy consistency. It can’t be used like regular milk. It’s typically reserved for adding richness or creaminess to desserts.

Survivalists everywhere will appreciate the fact that neither evaporated nor sweetened condensed milk requires refrigeration until they’re opened.

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